Monday, July 15, 2013

Rebel Spirits by Lois Ruby

Release date: June 1, 2013
Author info: Website | Twitter
Publisher: Point
Format: Hardcover
Source: For review via publisher
Pages: 304
Lori Chase doesn't know what to think about ghosts. She may have seen a few in the past, but those were just childish imaginings...right? Only now that she is living in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, spirits seem to be on everyone's mind. The town is obsessed with its bloody Civil War history, and the old inn that Lori's parents run is supposedly haunted by the souls of dead soldiers.

Then Lori meets one such soldier--the devastatingly handsome Nathaniel Pierce. Nathaniel's soul cannot rest, and he desperately needs Lori's help. Because Nathaniel was not killed in the famous battle. He was murdered. Lori begins to investigate the age-old mystery, stumbling upon shocking clues and secrets.

At the same time, she can't help falling for Nathaniel, just as he is falling for her...
Rebel Spirits was a bit of a hit and miss for me. There were definitely certain aspects I really enjoyed: the historical connection (especially since I was reading this starting the day after the Gettysburg anniversary), the creepy, almost Gothic tone in parts, and Nathaniel's fascinating history. But there were also things that detracted for me: in general, Lori, THE SUPER INSTA-LOVE, and the writing in some parts. This was a quick, altogether enjoyable read, but not especially memorable.

I love books connected to history, so I was excited to read about the ghost of a soldier who fought at Gettysburg and about how the town is today (I'm super curious to know if it's how Ruby describes. I"m quite sure the reenactments are!) That didn't disappoint; with scenes of cemetery tours, handsome men reliving the battle, and dances in period costumes, I got quite the dose and deeply enjoyed it. I was very invested in Nathaniel's story, and really wanted to hear all about his family, their history, and his experiences fighting.

The biggest detractor for me really was the insta-love though. Generally, I'm not picky about it, but this book takes place over three or four days and by the second day Lori is saying she loves Nathaniel, whom she has probably spent an hour with. I would've really loved a love story with a ghost (and I have previously!) but I felt like the time frame of the book made the relationship feel false and way too rushed.

One thing I especially liked, though, is the eerie tone that is set early on in the book. I dislike things that are outright scary, but I love a foreboding feel. That is exactly what Lois Ruby created; it felt distinctive and made the story feel more urgent, even as Lori is looking to solve a 150-year old mystery.

While there are certain qualities to Rebel Spirits that detracted from my experience, altogether I found it to be enjoyable and quick; it's a romantic and bittersweet ghost story.

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